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Gaming Regulators Set To Deal Cards On Second Casino License In Philadelphia

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- After much analysis and review, state gaming officials are expected to finally show their hand this afternoon on a second casino license for Philadelphia. Gaming regulators are expected to decide which group, if any, gets it.

The applicants under consideration are Market8 at Eighth and Market Streets; the Provence at Broad and Callowhill Streets; Live! Philadelphia at 900 Packer Avenue; and Casino Revolution at Front Street and Pattison Avenue.

They submitted applications two years ago. The gambling board first heard their pitches 21 months ago.

But Former Governor Ed Rendell would prefer that a decision be delayed, until Tom Wolf becomes governor.

"He has three of the seven appointees," Rendell said, "and this is going to affect his term in office."

Four legislative appointees on the gaming board must agree on a choice, plus at least one of the three appointed by the governor.

Rendell, who signed the casino law while in office, also wonders whether the casino market here is already at the saturation point.

"I'm very sensitive to cannibalization," he said, "particularly Chester."

Harrah's in Chester, Sugarhouse, the first casino licensee in Philadelphia, and Parx in Bensalem all have access to the I-95 corridor.

Existing area casinos and critics say the sands have shifted dramatically since hearings wrapped up on a second casino license for Philadelphia earlier this year, pointing to four of twelve Atlantic City casino closings this year.

But union leader John Dougherty said Philadelphia will not go the way of Atlantic City.

"We're not a gambling destination," he said. "We're a hospitality Mecca. Philly is jumping."

Dougherty said a second casino will bring jobs and more tax revenue to the city.

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